Southern State Community College - Weekend Program

Topic 24051 | Page 1

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Ironmonger's Comment
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This is a review and sort of a partial training blog.

I'll start by saying that I did learn a couple of things that I didn't know while I was there. Knowledge is never a bad thing, even if it's in small amounts. So, I'm not going to rant and rave; this is just my experience. I learned that going into Mexico or Quebec in a truck is a bad idea, and I learned a little about loading a van. Not much else.

I got a WIA grant from my county to attend the school for eight weeks. Cost without funding is $5300 I got all of my endorsements, all paid for by the college. I got a copy of the 'Hazardous Materials Compliance Pocketbook', and the 'Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Pocketbook', both by J.J. Keller. We also got a shifting diagram for a ten speed, a pre-trip list with very odd wording than what I've learned to expect, and a pre-trip packet with images of different parts of the truck.

First two weeks were in the classroom, two were on the skills pad, and the last four were over the road. Most of the classroom time was spent watching training videos and powerpoints, and we skimmed over logbooks and map-reading. Their trucks are old Schneider vehicles. 2001-2005 Freightliner Centuries, with trailers donated by Great Oaks and Sewell. The two used for straight-line backing and offset were in good condition for their age.

The one we used for the alley dock, however, was something between junk and scrap. The steering wheel was off-center by about 45-degrees, and it would fight us going into first and reverse from a stop. It's not like we had the clutch too far back. The instructor told us that we might have to use that one for our test. I wasn't expecting a new truck, but I expected it to at least be roadworthy. It was also an 8-speed for some reason. Maybe my expectations were too high; no idea.

The instructor, Rodney Abrams, seems to be a pretty knowledgeable guy, but he's meaner than a snake when he's training people on the pad. If you so much as ask him a question, he'll roll his eyes and go on a tangent with an unclear direction, talk over you, or just be plain rude and foul-mouthed. Sometimes, he won't even let you talk. If he doesn't like what you're doing for one reason or another, he'll hop on the truck and interrogate you, and answering those questions is not an option. He talked to most of us like we were stupid. He would often tell us to do things and not really explain how or give us any useful advice. Not my thing, but it might be yours.

Most of the class quit because of his attitude, myself included, and I was already having some health complications at the time. The county ended up sending me to Napier for a March class, and they went back after SSCC for their funding.

I'll do a write-up on Napier and let you all know how it goes.


A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Ironmonger learned very little:

I'll start by saying that I did learn a couple of things that I didn't know while I was there. Knowledge is never a bad thing, even if it's in small amounts. So, I'm not going to rant and rave; this is just my experience. I learned that going into Mexico or Quebec in a truck is a bad idea, and I learned a little about loading a van. Not much else.

How is that possible?



Although I wasn’t there to witness any of what you wrote, suffice it to say there are two sides to every story, somewhere in the middle is the truth. So take this for what it’s worth...if that’s all you learned how is that the school’s fault? What was covered during the classroom? What did you practice on the pad? How much practice did you get for PTI? What exactly did you expect?

As a student you are responsible for learning. Not critiquing equipment, or 8 speed vs. 10 speeds, or the demeanor of an instructor or the wording of something. Considering your experience level, how are you in a position to critique any of the things you pointed out? None of which should be detrimental to advancing your knowledge and skill.

You are at least 50% responsible for personal success during school. Adjustments to teaching style, equipment and any thing else you believe to be an exception are on you. You need to focus on yourself and applying a serious effort at learning just enough to pass your CDL.

Be humble and coachable...otherwise you will likely have similar issues no matter where you attend school.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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